Scottish Land & Estates, Game and Wildlife Conservancy Trust (GWCT) and RSPB Scotland joined forces on 1st July 2011 at Scone Gamefair to raise awareness about the current decline in waders and to promote wader friendly land use practices. At the joint reception, Scottish Land & Estates Chief Executive Douglas McAdam emphasised the need to act now to reverse the current decrease in numbers of wading birds such as lapwing and curlew, especially in the south of Scotland. It would be particularly inexcusable to allow these species to slip away since the reasons for their decline are known – habitat loss and lack of predator control.
Research has been conducted at various locations including Otterburn and Tharme and there is a clear correlation between high quality sporting management and thriving wading bird populations. However, Scottish Land & Estates also believes that it is necessary to conduct research to demonstrate the precise impact of birds of prey on waders. Many members of the organisation have reported seeing birds of prey taking waders and therefore the continual growth of populations of species such as buzzard and raven is of concern.
The Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) initiative is a key mechanism for helping wading bird populations as land managers are signing up to carrying out sustainable land management practices and this includes effective grouse moor management. Furthermore, the Scottish Moorland Group will be looking at the issue of declining wader populations and will be working to reverse this situation.